Bhubaneswar, July 27 (IANS) A probe was ordered Saturday into the deaths of three wild bears who were suspected of being poisoned in Odisha's Keonjhar district, an official said.
The carcass of a 20-year-old female bear and two three-year-old cubs were found in a forest near Toranipokhari village, 285 km from state capital Bhubaneswar.
"We have asked the divisional forest officer to visit the spot, launch an investigation and take appropriate action against those involved in the poisoning," Forests and Environment Minister Bijayshree Routray said here.
A district wildlife official said the animals were probably poisoned by villagers. Post- mortems of the bodies were conducted and the reports are expected soon. "We have launched a manhunt to nab the culprits," he said.
A wildlife expert said wild bears often stray into human habitations in search of food due to depletion of forests. There have been several incidents of man-animal conflict in the state in recent months.
People lynched a wild bear in Kotpad area of Koraput district in early May after it killed eight people and injured five.